Imagine You Are Driving

Julian Opie

28 March 1993

Concrete sculpture 25 x 550 x 480 cm

The three works by Julian Opie in this show function as a simplified re- enactment of various aspects of contemporary society; a re-enactment expressed as a reduction of the real to a system of objects which, in practice, act as elements in a highly codified language. Opie’s reformulation of the things surrounding us attempts to stimulate our imagination so as to make us relive experiences and sensations basically rooted in the everyday. That is what happens with the works included in this exhibition related with various aspects of car culture: the experience of driving, the motorway, the road system, or the car as object.

The experience of driving is clearly dealt with in the series of paintings titled Imagine You Are Driving, featuring a sequence of images of a motorway seen from the driver’s viewpoint. That is how Julian Opie himself described the experience: “I wanted to obtain an image as real as possible, and when you drive at high speed, the only thing you see is the sky and the road (…) speed annihilates reality.” Accordingly, the only experience of landscape granted to us by Opie in his reading is the one provided by the road itself.

With the same title, the exhibition presents a model for a circuit made in concrete, consisting of a number of basic pieces (curves, straight lines, ramps) joined together in a way reminiscent of Scalextric. The treatment of the road system as a basic play of interconnected elements, as well as the scale and its placement on the ground, encourages us to engage in a spatial appropriation of a constructive reality whose overall perception eludes us.